Debate on Traditional Culture: Tu Weiming vs. Yuan Weishi

Prof. Tu Wei-ming is the proponent of “third phase of the development of Confucianism,” who brought the modern transformation of Confucian into international context. In addition to freedom, Tu believes, there should be fairness. In addition to rationality, there should be compassion and sympathy. In addition to rule of law, there should be civility. In addition to the dignity of individuals, there should also be social harmony. The core value of the modern Western culture is rooted in the universal values of the West, some of which could also be rooted in the universal values of China and the East.

Yuan Weishi is a retired philosophy professor at Zhong Shan University; he is an expert on China’s modern history. Yuan Weishi believes that benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and faith should be built on the foundation of freedom, equality, democracy, and rule of law. Otherwise, these values could only be serving the patriarchal despotism.

Prof. Yuan perceives the “May 4th Movement” as a creative transformation of traditional Chinese, while Prof. Du argues that the “May 4th Movement” has destroyed the fundamentals of Confucianism. To read about the thought-provoking debate between Tu and Yuan in Chinese, click here.

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